Monday, January 17, 2011

In Dr. King's memory, Let's Unite And Save This City

I had the honor and the pleasure of marching with DC Jobs With Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, and hundreds of our fair citizens in Dr. King's memory up the street that bears his name: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. I was inspired by the experience to complete the press release below, that outlines my positions for media figures (and fellow citizens) who may be interested in my views, positions and background. Please take a look:

Alan Page brings Three Core Principles to the race to fill the At-Large seat vacated by Kwame Brown:

- We are a Diverse City
- Our Public Schools Are Our Treasure; and
- We Cannot Balance The Budget on the Backs of the Poor

WASHINGTON, DC -- In light of a budget shortfall, longtime Washington DC resident, DCPS parent and attorney Alan Page has decided to jump into the race to fill the seat vacated by Kwame Brown when he moved on to Council Chair.

"I have operated on the periphery of local politics for seven years now, since I became a homeowner and a father, knowing at that point I was then invested more than ever in the city I have called home for almost 20 years, because I need the schools in this city to succeed for my daughter to excel and I need this city to thrive for my home to be a part of a vibrant community," said Mr. Page.

Buying a home on then-blighted Wylie Street NE, Mr. Page worked hard with his neighbors in the Wylie Street Homeowners Association to improve conditions and access to city services for the one-block street. Overcoming an open-air drug market culture, trash, illegal parking (including stolen cars), seven years later the conditions on Wylie Street have changed 180 degrees from its prior state. Through this process, Mr. Page learned first hand that the city and the members of a community can radically improve even the most challenged area if they work together. Mr. Page continued to work with H Street Main Street to help foster the environment that new businesses needed to thrive in the area. As a result, many new businesses have opened on the once-thriving commercial corridor, helping it move closer to its former glory.

Now, as the District faces a crushing budget shortfall, it is time for the whole city to work together to get us past this crisis, without balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, by attempting to solve our crisis with disproportionate cuts to social services. Since we currently have one tax rate for income above $40,000 a year, creating a scenario where a schoolteacher and Bill Gates could share the same tax bracket if they were neighbors in our city, I believe it is also time to create a new tax bracket so our earners in the top 5% bracket can contribute just 1% more of their income above the $200,000 threshold, to help our city stay on the path towards prosperity. Understanding that our most successful citizens will expect more efficiency in government if they are asked to give more to help us all, Mr. Page also advocates a citywide appraisal of where cuts can be made to eliminate waste and duplication of services.

Mr. Page is also concerned about the future of the city, beyond our present budget challenge. In light of that, Mr. Page is a strong supporter of the Promise Neighborhood planned for Ward 7, which will coordinate educational and social services to maximize the chances for academic success for students in the Kenilworth neighborhood, by addressing their challenges in holistic fashion, from the classroom to the home. This program is supported by President Obama and is based on the successful Harlem Children's Zone analyzed in the book "Whatever It Takes". The key success in the Harlem Children's Zone is the elimination of the racial gap in mathematics performance on standardized tests for students who were part of the Zone, by the time they reached middle school. If we can support this effort and bring Promise Neighborhoods to other neighborhoods where students face a range of challenges that hamper their academic performance, we can secure the future of this city. Our public schools are our treasure and it's time to invest in maximizing their success.

Join Alan Page in his quest to turn this budget crisis around and take us over the water to a brighter tomorrow.

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